This lady has spent a lifetime creating one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen. Its not just her gardening skills and knowledge that amaze me but her vision and ability to create breath taking spaces, each so different and complete in themselves, yet able to flow effortlessly into each other.
As I wandered around the garden, a soft rain of autumn leaves settled in my hair and on my shoulders. Many trees stood naked already and those that still blazed with vibrant colour were releasing their leaves to the gently breeze, in a final farewell to the season.
It is a garden in transition, like the gardener herself.
I saw it rising out of the bare branches of the now naked trees. Buds … promising new growth and a future in another season. Many of those buds were tiny, barely visible and yet they were there, like the remnant of hope that we cling to when all around us seems bare and bleak. But sometimes that’s all we need. A bud of hope, no matter how small, gives us the strength to continue; like a vestige of light amidst the darkness.
I saw it in the large swelling buds of the rhododendron, intricate in design and the forerunner of the beauty and colour of its spring blossom. Who could imagine such majestic glory bursting from such a tightly knit bud, but then the wonder of what lays ahead in life is so often hidden from our view behind the folds of the present moment.
Hope can’t be defined for it too is unique.
And I saw it in the tiniest shoots emerging from bulbs buried deep in the ground, whispering hope in a future not yet a reality. Always there are signposts though often we miss them or they are unrecognisable to our finite minds and earthly eyes. But we hope regardless until we see reality.
I love Eugene Petersen’s definition of hope, ‘alert expectation’. It’s such a positive image of waiting expectantly rather than holding on to hope with grim determination. For suffering produces patience and strength of character, which gives us the ability to wait hopefully for whatever God is wanting to do next in our lives.
That hope which was deeply knit in the gardener's soul. When digging and building, sowing and planting left sore muscles and aching bones, hope got her up again the next morning; hope for what could be. The now towering trees were once just seedlings filled with hope. Now the garden is a masterpiece which will live on as an inspiration for generations to come.
Hope has a long view. I will plant the seed but someday someone else will sit under the shade of its branches.